The Seahawks look to build some momentum on Sunday in New York against the 1-5 Giants. Despite their record, the Giants are coming off of a convincing win against the Broncos, and are a tough team to pin down at the moment. To get some more answers, I sent five Qs over to Ed Valentine of Big Blue View, and he sent me a few quick As.
Q: I think it's easy to see the results of the 1-5 Giants but from an outsiders perspective, maybe not understand what was wrong with the process that got them to this point. So finish this sentence ... The biggest reason for the Giants 0-5 start was ___________ And what's the status of that problem now? Is it being improved upon?
A: The biggest reason for the Giants 0-5 start was that there wasn't one single thing you could point to. It was a combination of many things. That's how you get to 0-5.
It starts with the offensive line. That group wasn't good last season, yet the Giants did not address it in any significant way in free agency or the draft. They added D.J. Fluker and sixth-round pick Adam Bisnowaty. Bisnowaty is on the practice squad. And guess what? The line has been a problem. Right tackle Bobby Hart is now riding the bench. Ereck Flowers is, well, not a good NFL left tackle. The result has been that the Giants have struggled to run and Eli Manning is having to throw quickly. The line has made some progress the last couple of weeks -- inserting Fluker at RG and moving Justin Pugh out to RT help. It is, however, not a great group.
Odell Beckham never being fully healthy was crushing, and now he's gone for the year. Signing Brandon Marshall was a mistake.
Defensively, they simply have not been as good as they were last year. It is, basically, the same guys. But, Sunday against the Broncos was the only time this year they have played like they did a season ago.
Then, there has been weird stuff you can't explain. A good punter like Brad Wing shanking punts at key times two weeks in a row. A guy making a 61-yard field goal as time expires to beat the Giants. Eli Manning somehow fumbling when he rolled over a defender on a sack, setting up a game-losing touchdown.
Q: Without having any receivers, it seems like New York will have to lean heavily on Evan Engram. I mean, Ben McAdoo even said as much, knowing that the rookie tight end is the best weapon on offense at this point. Is that worrisome at all to you, to put that much pressure on a rookie, or do you think this will make Engram into a veteran player even sooner than planned and that he's emotionally mature enough to handle it?
A: Well, sure it's worrisome. Not because Engram is a rookie. He's tremendous. It worries me because everyone who pays any attention knows how much they are going to have to rely on Engram, even when Sterling Shepard comes back -- and I don't know about him playing this week. That means double teams, no more free releases off the line, etc. The Giants are going to have to be creative and move Engram around to find match-ups and ways to get him off the line of scrimmage and into his routes clean.
Q: How likely would you say it is that Olivier Vernon plays and beyond him and Jason Pierre-Paul, what does the Giants edge rushing situation look like? Is the depth good?
A: I think Vernon was listed as "limited" in practice on Wednesday. I would be really surprised if Vernon plays against Seattle. The Giants have a bye after Sunday, and it just makes sense for OV to rest and get fully healthy. Especially with the Giants at 1-5.
The Giants put second-year DE Romeo Okwara on IR this week. They have Kerry Wynn and rookie fifth-round pick Avery Moss as depth, and use linebacker Devon Kennard as a defensive linemen in passing situations.
Q: Over in Seattle, Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable draw the most criticism from fans. Which assistant coach/coordinator under McAdoo gets the most criticism from fans? How long has that been going on and do you agree with it?
A: Well, these days most of the criticism has been pointed at McAdoo himself. when fans aren't shredding GM Jerry Reese, that is. The guy who has long been a target for fans is special teams coordinator Tom Quinn. "Fire Quinn" is a common refrain. I used to be on that bandwagon, but I'm not really there anymore.
The coordinator doesn't punt or kick the field goals. As far as coverage, when you have a deep roster with some experienced players you will have good coverage. When you have a weak roster full of inexperienced players, or a lot of guys coming off the street to play specials because of injuries, your coverage won't be good. If you have a dynamic returner and guys throw some blocks, good things happen. If not, they won't. There has been some really good and some really bad on Quinn's watch, and I'm not convinced he’s had a darn thing to do with any of it.
Q: There's been some noise made here about the Seahawks playing well in MetLife. How well do the Giants play in their home stadium and is it significantly different than how most teams play at home?
A: The Giants, to my mind, don't have anything like the home field advantage the Seahawks do. New York is a great, rocking, fun place to play when you win. If you've been watching the Yankees in the playoffs and have seen and heard the crowd at Yankee Stadium, you know that. It can be an ugly place to play when you aren't good. The Giants have been booed a lot at home already this season, and if things go south quickly on Sunday you can bet the crowd will turn on the Giants.